December 12 - Pacific Basin Shipping has sold PB Towage Australia to Smit Lamnalco, a 50-percent owned associate of Royal Boskalis Westminster.

The transaction is expected to complete in January 2015 and will constitute the sale of Pacific Basin's entire harbour towage assets and activities.

In March this year, the Pacific Basin board of directors said that it would continue to sound out the market to establish if there is a third party interested in PB Sea-Tow.

Now, Mats Berglund, ceo of Pacific Basin, said: "Pacific Basin has been engaged in the harbour towage business since late 2007. As we have previously stated, however, our strategy is to enhance our focus on our cornerstone dry bulk business."

Tony Cousins, managing director of PB Towage Australia, added: "Smit Lamnalco now brings the specialist towage capability and coverage necessary to compete on an international scale."

Smit Lamnalco ceo Daan Koornneef concludes: "Smit Lamnalco will be active in eight ports in Australia with a total of 29 vessels offering a combination of harbour towage, terminal and FPSO-related services."

Boskalis says that the acquisition follows its strategy to develop its position in the towage market through partnerships such as Smit Lamnalco and to grow through regional consolidation opportunities.

In November this year, PB Sea-Tow sold its 50 percent stake in Offshore Marine Services Alliance (OMSA) to joint venture partner, Skilled Offshore.